Following the launch of the MLRC report on the Right to Housing on 4th May 2016, MLRC was invited to make a submission on the Right to Housing to the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness. MLRC made this submission and presented it to the Committee on 10th May 2016. To watch this presentation back, please click here. For ease of reference in watching back, MLRC was before the committee in the afternoon session, following after the presentation of Professor PJ Drudy.
The Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness launched their report on Friday 17th June 2016 and in which the Right to Housing is noted by various contributors.
MLRC is calling for the protection of the right to housing in the Constitution to be a key priority of next Dáil, extract from the Oireachtas Report, page 146:
… view was offered to the Committee on May 10 by Ms Maeve Regan of the Mercy Law Resource Centre. She argued that a right to housing should be enshrined in the Constitution, and that this would represent a positive step in creating a fundamental protection of the home for every adult and child:
“A right to housing in the Constitution would not mean the right to a key to a home for all. A constitutional right to housing would, however, put in place a basic floor of protection. It would require the State in its decisions and in its policies to protect the right to housing in balance with other rights … the right to housing would mean that legislation and policy would have to be proofed to ensure they reasonably protect the right in the same way as they are proofed in regard to other substantive rights. This would ensure that at that early stage a check would be in place to ensure that legislation or policy reasonably protect the right to housing. This would mean that policies on housing and homelessness could not be based on a political whim or simply based on the philosophy of the reigning Government. Policy would instead be grounded in the basic obligation to respect the right. In that sense, it would be an enduring protection, a fundamental floor.”
MLRC is happy to see that the Housing & Homelessness Committee has included in its report a recommendation on the Right to Housing to the incoming Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government, extract from the Oireachtas Report, page 142:
- the submissions and evidence provided to the Committee;
- the provisions in the Programme for a Partnership Government 2016; and
- the work of the Convention on the Constitution
in relation to enshrining the right to housing in the Constitution, the Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government (which is expected to be established shortly by Dáil Éireann) should bring the deliberations in this regard to a conclusion as quickly as possible by bringing a recommendation on the matter to the Government.
MLRC is calling on the Minister for Housing to urgently act on the recommendation of the Oireachtas Committee on Housing and Homelessness that the protection of the right to housing in the Constitution be considered by the new Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government, and a recommendation be brought to the Government on it. As the Minister implements the recently published Action Plan, there is a very important opportunity to take the next step to put this protection in place. In our report, we note that the right to housing would help those who are facing homelessness now and would be a fundamental safeguard against the recurrence of this gravely unacceptable crisis. It would recognise that a home is central to the dignity and potential of every person. The protection of this right would represent and be part of a long-term solution to go alongside the short-term remedial measures such as the very welcome decision to increase rent supplement rates.
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